About The National Museum of Photography

 Roger Fenton: The Valley of the Shadow of Death (1856)

The National Museum of Photography holds a large collection of photographs. Due to preservation purposes, the collections are kept in storage with no permanent exhibition, but the museum organizes changing temporary exhibitions of varying themes and artists. Please refer to this website to see what is currently on display and plan your visit.

The National Museum of Photography got its name in 1996, and when The Black Diamond was completed in 1999 the museum moved into the present exhibitions rooms. The museum is in fact somewhat older. It is based on the part of the collection of the Department of Maps, Pictures and Photographs that was previously called the Photo Historical Sheets – pictures which because of either their artistic value or their photo historical importance differed from the Picture Collection’s otherwise predominantly documentary culture-historical pictures.

The collection dates right back to the invention of photography in 1839, its main feature being photographs from the 1800s, Danish as well as international. But it also abounds in important works from the 20. century, just as the latest contemporary art is very well represented.

The raison d'être of the museum is the collection. All exhibitions are based on it, either as a pure collection exhibition based on a theme, a genre, a place or one individual photographer, or else aspects of the collection are highlighted via loans from artists or institutions at home and abroad. Over the years this has produced a number of impressive exhibitions, emphasizing the photograph as an independent artistic form of expression, which hopefully has opened the Danish public’s eyes to the great diversity inherent in photographic art.

The National Museum of Photography is, however, much more than a place for display. Due to its position in The Black Diamond the museum is also entitled to use an excellent study hall, Centre for Maps and Pictures, which it shares with the Department of Maps, Pictures and Photographs. Here one has direct access to reference works on photography as well as a documentation and newspaper archive which contains information on Danish and foreign photographers. The centre reading room also functions as study hall, where researchers and others have the chance to study the original photographic works in the collection.